Let’s face it, no one likes being poked and prodded. Dog owners tend to forget about this little fact when it comes to puppies. Just like pulling at your dogs tail or playing with their ears, dogs dislike having their feet touched.
Dogs have Sensitive Feet
This sounds like utter bologna. A dog runs on rocks, sand, dirt and sticks without a single complaint. The pads of a dogs paws are rough like a callus.
Years of walking on pads cause some dogs to get up to a 3/4 inch callus. The texture of an old dogs pads are much like seasoned leather. The pads become a temperature and environmental shield for your dogs paws.
Dogs also have very few nerve endings on their pads, which allows for the years of conditioning required to have thick pads. On the other side of the foot, a dog has a plethora of nerve endings. All these nerve endings make a puppies pads extremely sensitive.
The sensitivity does not end at the top. The space between dogs toes is also extremely sensitive. This is why dogs absolutely hate getting their nails cut.
The Reason Dogs Dislike Having Their Feet Touched
Sensitive feet are essential to a dogs survival. Dogs use their feet for everything. Digging in the ground, hunting, and traction when running. The nerves act as a warning signal that a dogs best tool may be in danger.
The sensitivity is just the first layer of protection. Dogs have nerves running through their toe nails. When a dog has a bad nail clipping, they experience intense pain. This is natures way of telling a dog to protect their nails for digging.
Dogs naturally file their nails when running on dirt and rocks. Cement is very abrasive for dog paws. A dog never forgets the pain of cutting the nerve in their toe nail. No wonder dogs dislike having their feet touched.
How to Prevent a Dogs Dislike of Having their Feet Touched
Dogs do not need to dislike having their feet touched. I start when my dogs are puppies. I constantly play with a puppies paws. Fingers between toes and stroking the top of their feet starts at a young age.
My dogs never totally get over the sensitivity their paws have. I mitigate the sensitivity by playing with puppy feet early. The more positive experiences a dog has with their feet the less likely they are to remember the negative.
This is the same training principle I use for going to the Vet or putting on a leash. If every time I go in the car with my dog we go to the Vet, my dog will hate the car. If every time I get the leash we leave the dog park, my dog will hate the leash.
Putting the leash on and going for walks or going for drives to fun places gives positive experiences to remember.
Ask A Professional
All dogs dislike having their feet touched to some degree. It is a gamble to risk nipping a nerve cutting your dogs nails yourself. After you get your dog comfortable with you touching their paws, you do not want to destroy all of that progress.
The easiest way to circumvent the risk is by letting a professional cut your dogs nails. I also pay to have the Vet or groomer clip my dogs nails until they are a year old. After that I will cut my dogs hair and nails myself. I get young dogs groomed often and by different groomers to ensure they are used to many different people playing with your dogs feet.
This prevents the sheer hatred and fear associated with nail trimming. This is one of the areas I stress new dog owners to focus on. Dry pads can crack and be extremely painful for dogs. A hurt paw also prevents mobility.
A good dog owner must be able to touch their dogs paws in case of damage. Starting early is the best way to ensure your dog will let you play with their paws as an adult.